Last day of the Rapha Turkey Takeoff. And I did not make it. I did not get my badge. I let Sophia down. She was more than ready to take on the entire challenge but as for me, her engine, I failed her. This challenge wasn't a complete waste though, I learned some valuable lessons. Hopefully when another challenge rolls around, whether it's public or just for myself, these pearls of wisdom will help remind me what it takes to keep going.
Lesson 1: EAT You need to fill that tank up with something good if you plan on going farther than just an hour jaunt. Cinnamon rolls and quesadillas are not good pre-ride fuel, remember that. Recovery food is just as important. A glass of chocolate milk and a croissant with jam does not a healthy meal make. Don't ask me why I didn't have my usual post-ride protein smoothies, I think my body was using brain matter as fuel. A healthy mix of protein and carbs are necessary for a good performance the next day. Trust me I know. I think I ate a total of 900 calories on Thanksgiving day just because I was burned out and not hungry. The next day I felt like a cyclo-zombie.
Lesson 2: Keep your bike in good order. A clean bike is a fast bike. Just like when you were little. Brand new shoes or just washed ones always make you run faster. Give your bike a good wash or spray down, get the grime off her, lube her if she needs it, and do your routine pre-ride checklist. This all sounds kind of naughty now that I'm re-reading it. Lesson here is love your bike and it will give you miles of entertainment and health.
Lesson 3: Find some recovery routines that work for you and use them. Compression socks, ice baths, massages, watching bad movies with your legs elevated. Whatever you find works for you, do it. Don't go and walk through North America's largest car show the day after a butt kicking ride. 2 flights of stairs and I felt like I had cement flip flops on. Do whatever you can to let your body recover, that's all I'm saying. We're not all superheroes.
Lesson 3.5: SLEEP I think this qualifies as recovery too. Your body repairs itself while you slumber. Sleep is wonderful, I love it when I can get it. Find the best method to fall asleep and do it. I like a dram of whiskey and a shortbread cookie. Nah, I honestly have the worst time falling and staying asleep, so if you have any absurd suggestions I WILL try them.
Lesson 4: Use your mind as an ally. If you're having a rough ride use your mind to refocus. Focus on a word, phrase, or scene from a movie. This will help take your mind off the pain or mental negativity you have before you start to have tunnel vision or go cross-eyed, after that you'll pretty much tune out everything. That's when your mind goes on auto pilot, at least for me it does. Heartbeat=pedal stroke=breath. Better make sure you're on your way home once those set in though. You'll end up sitting on the curb in front of a liquor store mumbling, eating Twinkies and having a Coke.
Lesson 5: Last but not least, choose your rides accordingly. With a challenge like this I should have known better then to head for the hills. I wasn't prepared for so much climbing and I got burned out. I should of found some flat routes and put the sails up. 1 or 2 days of climbing is okay, not everyday. Not every ride has to be the Battan Death Ride, unless it really is that sort of challenge.
So there you have it. Lessons I have learned in one week of riding. I did none of them, and I suffered for it. You can bet next challenge I'm going in full charge, so look out.